Some companies spend millions of dollars every year toward brand management. The brand management team makes sure every time someone sees their logo, hears their name, views their ads, uses their products, or visits their website, the proper image – or brand – is presented to the customer.
Now, you may not own a multinational corporation, but you still have to worry about your own personal brand. This ranges from how you dress to the car you drive to the phone you use to your online presence. It may not be the most appropriate thing in our society to judge a book by its cover, but it definitely happens. And you need to be aware.
How you dress says a lot about you, but this author has zero fashion sense, so we’ll leave that up to someone else. Your online presence, however, is something we can help with.
First of all, every professional should have a personal website. This is a place you can send potential employers, friends, customers, and others to see a little bit about you. That site can then link to a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, as well as any online portfolio you may have. You can list contact information or resume details. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and there are several easy-to-use sites that can help you get started.
The other part of online brand management is to always be careful about what you put online. With Facebook privacy settings changing every day and comment forums permeating the Internet, it’s common for something that was intended to be private – or at least anonymous – to end up being public and messy. The easiest way to avoid that sort of crisis is the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
When managing your social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter, etc. – remember that everything you put on there could potentially exist on the Internet forever. Even a private message can stay in the recipient’s inbox indefinitely. Keep your online presence professional and your brand will stay protected.
Being in control of your personal brand doesn’t mean you have to buy the latest technology, drive an expensive car, or participate in the latest social anomaly; you may not want your image to be one of self-importance and pretentiousness. It simply means presenting yourself in such a way that will most accurately describe you, your work ethic, your dedication, and your personality.